With the tagline “pro-Israel, pro-peace”, J-Street have recently held their first annual conference. Who are they? A Jewish lobby group that is gaining prominence in America and a new player in Congress forming a voice in US policies towards Israel and Palestine. What makes them different is that Jews, non-Jews and even Palestinians are involved in the lobby group.
As usual, it is not politicians who will take a definitive step, it is the people. For a politician in a prominent position to take any action he must be pretty damn sure his head’s not going to be on a chopping block. Funding from Jewish groups is of great importance – defiance against them would be political suicide.
But times are changing.
It is the people who take the steps and stand up for what they believe in, and this is where J-Street comes in. As opposed to the traditional Zionist views of AIPAC, J-Street reflects the modern view of Israel-Palestine cooperation that people on both fronts desire.
Hence it is probably one of the most rational groups to form on this issue. Those who have seen the Daily Show interview with Anna Baltzer & Mustafa Barghouti can see how the cooperation approach is gaining momentum. J-Street wishes to reassure politicians that they can still harbour support from the Jewish community while criticising and openly discussing Israel at the same time.
New thinkers have appeared and ethnic bitterness is giving way to intellectual discourse. Most importantly, J-Street is being run in America, involving members of American society and gaining publicity in America. No country is more important to this conflict than the USA.
Influence U.S foreign policy and you will influence the course of events in the Middle-East.
Thanks to the new administration, a change in thinking is sweeping the government, as one of the conference guests Bassim Khoury (an-ex Palestinian minister) observed there is a new Washington that “understands linkages.”
Of course J-Street’s approach is a slap in the face of the traditional Jewish lobbyists who cannot say a word against Israel and are bent upon the “one state solution.”
But it is time to see the reality.
Compromise comes from both ends, not just one. Willingness to compromise is basic theory in negotiation and, in a conflict/stalemate such as this, it is definitely worth looking into.
Hopefully with the growth in discourse between prominent members of Israel and Palestine we can eventually find not just compromise but mutual benefit.
J-Street shows that the wheels are being set in motion.
It’s a shame that we feel obliged to kill each other over our differences. In the end (religious beliefs aside) all we really want to do is live and to do it well. Groups like J-Street are the way of the future and will take Israelis and Palestinians one step closer to achieving that.
As a final note to the person who shouted “liar” in the Daily Show interview. You are a douche.
Click view to learn more about J-Street.